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The psychological components of coaching have a huge impact on the development of our players — both on and off the pitch. As coaches, we have a responsibility to understand these components, in order to provide supportive and constructive learning environments for the kids we work with. In this article, Dr. Suzanne Brown, Clinical Psychologist and Lead Psychologist at Sunderland AFC, explores some of the most important aspects of psychology in football, as she discusses emotional control, how to develop positive attitudes to mistakes, and…

Ben Garuccio is an A-League winner with two different clubs. But his career hasn’t been without challenges. In this article, the Western United fullback reflects upon the setbacks he faced in youth football, moving to Scotland as a professional and suffering a major knee injury, and how he consistently overcame adversity to develop as both a player and person — and, ultimately, build a successful and fulfilling career in the game. In This Article From Youth Football to the Professional Game Overcoming Adversity in Elite…

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Liam Ridgewell enjoyed a 17-year career as a professional footballer. After making his senior debut for Aston Villa, he went on to play over 300 games in English football before joining MLS side Portland Timbers, where he is now a coach. Below, Ridgewell reflects on his experiences in youth football, the challenges of making it to the Premier League, and the mentality required to compete at the highest level. In This Article Developing a Strong Mindset Competing against Elite Opposition The Importance of Overcoming Adversity…

In this Masterclass Discussion, PDP Editor, Dave Wright sits down with Dr. Suze Brown, a Clinical Psychologist and expert in the areas of identity and attachment theory. Suze outlines a number of strategies as to how we can better understand our players through an empathetic approach, sharing some ideas as to how coaches can utilise an understanding of psychology to improve the environment for players. A must watch for coaches. Dr. Suzanne Brown is a Clinical Psychologist and the Director of Emotionally Connected (www.emotionallyconnected.co.uk). She…

How to use this guide Understanding the session This session guide assumes you have 60 minutes with 16 players but as our guidelines point out, this can be adapted based on the number of players you have in your team. As your confidence grows you may adapt or experiment with the practices provided, but these tasks are designed to follow a process which gradually ramps up the challenge for the players from minute one to minute sixty. The key below outlines what the images mean…

PDP Video Session Plans are adaptable sessions designed by academy coach, Dave Wright. All sessions show key focus points, set up, and progressions so you can use them in your next practice.

What are some of the key considerations for coaching youth soccer players? The teenage years in particular are a crucial time for our players’ development as both soccer players and people. As their coaches, we can play a decisive role in that process. Between the ages of 12 and 18, youth players will experience significant physical, psychological, and emotional growth. Social dynamics and the pressures placed upon them will change. And they’ll make repeated leaps between different game formats, transitioning from small-sided games to 11v11….

Position-specific coaching can be a powerful tool in player development. It enables us to add new dimensions to our activities, familiarise players with the distinct challenges posed by different positions, and help them work on individual areas of development within the wider context of a team practice. Below, we examine the fundamentals of position-specific coaching, and how we can successfully embrace it within our sessions. In This Article Utilising Position-Specific Coaching Ensuring Player Engagement The Individual Component Position-Specific Coaching: The Key Points Utilising Position-Specific Coaching…

When it comes to learning, development or performance, what is ‘The Zone’? In this article, motivational researcher and rugby coach, Jonny McMurtry shares some ideas as to how we can help athletes get into the zone. Driven by my on-going reviews of my current research and listening Coach Reed Maltbie’s recent podcast regarding Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximial Development, I wanted to look deeper into the theory, applying ideas against recent articles and incidents in the coaching world to highlight my perceived importance to this matter….

In this session UEFA A licensed coach, Dave Wright continues on his defensive work with the Melbourne Victory U20 group. The practice is designed to encourage players to collaborate and work together in units to block forward and split passes. Dave demonstrates some gradual progressions to allow attackers and defenders to move into opposition zones and create more chaos. The purpose of this practice ties in with the next session (a phase of play) which encourages players to be patient out of possession and choose…

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Making mistakes — and learning from them — is essential to developing as a coach. Below, in our guide on soccer coaching for beginners, we discuss ten of the most common mistakes made by new coaches — and how to avoid them. Transplanting Approaches from Other Teams It’s tempting to observe the best professional teams and attempt to replicate their approaches. But we must account for our environment; factors like culture, the players we’re working with, and our collective aims all underpin the most effective…

How can sport help build resilience in people? Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology at Staffordshire University, Dr. Martin Turner shares some examples of failure and success in sport from football, golf and tennis outlining the value of learning from these challenges as players and coaches. Sport has been called a natural laboratory for examining the psychology of human behaviour. It is also a perfect place to learn and craft how to respond to life’s adversities. Sport, as in life, provides many highs and many lows for…

In this Masterclass Discussion, Dave Wright & Dan Wright Co-host a conversation with Danny Barham, Head of Analysis and Data for Birmingham City FC. Danny shares insights into the power of video, practical advice for grassroots clubs looking to apply analysis, shares the approach of Birmingham City’s analysis department and how they individualise analysis for players. This is a fascinating discussion for analytical coaches interested in how performance and development environments are utilising objective analysis and data to support player development in a holistic way….

In this PDP Live Session, FFA Coach Developer and Academy Coach, Anthony Frost demonstrates a small sided game where players have to find solutions to various tasks. Anthony cleverly uses planned interventions to set tactical and technical challenges for the players to work on collectively in a 5 v 5 + 1 small sided game. This is a great example of how coaches can encourage decision making and team work within the game, as well as observing adaptability of the players, knowing when to guide…

How to use this guide Understanding the session This session guide assumes you have 60 minutes with 16 players but as our guidelines point out, this can be adapted based on the number of players you have in your team. As your confidence grows you may adapt or experiment with the practices provided, but these tasks are designed to follow a process which gradually ramps up the challenge for the players from minute one to minute sixty. The key below outlines what the images mean…

How do you communicate with your players? In this article PDP Technical Advisor, Dan Wright shares some fascinating reflections and advice for coaches on how to effectively question and communicate with players to make sure they genuinely think about solutions within the game. Over the last few months I have found myself using the question used as this article’s title a lot. I’ve done so with an aim to challenge players to think about their game, or perhaps more specifically what they had noticed whilst…

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